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How do I keep stray animals out of my yard?

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If you feel like your yard has become a kennel for stray animals, you are not alone. Animals tend to visit other yards more often this time of year. Consider these methods to get rid of strays. Keep in mind that safety for both humans and animals should be considered, and not all methods are effective for all animals.

Propel water. Water propelled from a cup, pitcher, hose or toy water gun can dissuade animals from visiting. Even if the water doesn't make contact with the animal, the motions involved and the water landing nearby will send the message that they are not welcome. This method, however, can be time consuming and requires that someone regularly monitors your yard.

Fence your yard. If you are building a fence, consider what animals you want to exclude as you select fencing materials. If you already have a fence and want to deter cats from climbing it, place strips of double faced tape or plastic along the top. Cats do not like the feel of these materials on their paws.

Try a homemade repellent. Moth balls can be an effective area repellent, or repellent recipes can work as well. Chop one whole Spanish onion and one jalapeno pepper. Add two quarts water to one tablespoon of cayenne pepper and boil for 20 minutes. Cool, strain water through a cheesecloth, then spray with a garden sprayer in areas where animals are being a nuisance. You may need to spray daily for up to two weeks.

Use a repellent device. These devices usually involve a triggering mechanism so that sound and lights are activated when a barrier is broken by the animal's entry or movement. With this method, it is important to consider the effects on the animal as well as neighbors within audio range.

Buy a commercial repellent. New repellent products have become available. Visit your local pet store to see the products they carry.

If all else fails while trying to rid stray pets from your yard, help is available through your local animal control agency. They also can assist with wild animal control.

Posted on 11 Sep 2005

Clell Bagley
Extension vetrinarian

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